Bennett, Lapid to Dissolve Israel's Government, Netanyahu Says Likud Will Replace
Netanyahu said in a statement that it is "clear to everyone that the most wretched government in the history of the country has reached an end"
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid announced Monday that they will dissolve their fragile coalition government, which means the country will hold its fifth in three years.
Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister who stepped aside for the new coalition government last year, said the announcement is “great news for millions of citizens.”
“After a year of a determined campaign by the opposition in the Knesset, with great suffering in the Israeli public, it is clear to everyone that the most wretched government in the history of the country has reached an end,” he said. He pointed out that the announcement means that he could return to power.
“My friends and I will form a broad national government led by Likud,” he said.
Bennett and Lapid said they would bring a bill to dissolve the Knesset to a vote next Monday, The Jerusalem Post reported. The paper said the vote could be held as soon as 25 October.
Sources told the paper that the two wanted to dissolve their government on their own terms and not be forced out by Netanyahu. Bennett's office said the move came "after attempts to stabilize the coalition had been exhausted."
Lapid, a centrist, will become prime minister. Bennett was only going to serve two years as prime minister under the coalition's arrangement. Netanyahu stated at the time that he would be a thorn in Bennett’s side and would fight for a return to power. He described Bennett as underqualified, dim-witted, and talentless.
The coalition was always seen as fragile. The New York Times pointed out that the coalition “united political opponents from the right, left and center, and included the first independent Arab party to join an Israeli governing coalition.”
Palestinian make up about 20 percent of Israel’s population and have never been part of a coalition government.
The paper reported that the “final straw” was the coalition’s failure to vote on the extension of the West Bank’s “two-tier” legal system that have been in place since 1967.
Human Rights Watch said these policies “harshly discriminate against Palestinian residents, depriving them of basic necessities while providing lavish amenities for Jewish settlements.
A 2010 report identified discriminatory practices that have “no legitimate security or other justification and calls on Israel, in addition to abiding by its international legal obligation to withdraw the settlements, to end these violations of Palestinians' rights.”
The Times said several Arab members of the coalition declined to vote for the system. The paper said the practice needs to be renewed every five years. The vote led Bennett, “a former settler leader, to collapse the government and thereby delay a final vote until after another election,” the paper said.
Al Jazeera said the vote is normally a “routine procedure for the overwhelmingly pro-settler parliament, which it has done on a yearly basis.”
“Last week’s vote showed how paralysed and partisan politics in Israel has become. It was particularly interesting that the opposition around Netanyahu voted unanimously against an extension of the law – and thus against its own electorate.”1
Al Jazeera said the vote on the settler bill “should have still passed, even without the votes from the UAL, if the opposition had voted according to their pro-settler beliefs.” The government did not get the required 61 votes because “several coalition rebels sided with the opposition” led by Netanyahu, The Algemeiner reported.
Eyal Mayroz, a senior lecturer in the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney, told Al Jazeera: “The failure to extend the regulations that apply Israeli civilian law to Israelis living in the West Bank was certainly a blow to the fragile coalition government.”
The Trends Journal has long reported on how Israel is criticized over its treatment of Palestinians. Palestinians meets the internationally accepted definition of apartheid, Amnesty International said earlier this year.
Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth told The New York Times in May 2021 that the “oppression of Palestinians there has reached a threshold and a performance that meets the definitions of the crimes of apartheid and persecution.”
The paper reported at the time that Palestinians have been making the claim about the conditions there since the 1960s. President Jimmy Carter agreed with this back in 2006, and there is a growing number of Jewish human-rights groups that also make the claim. Jerusalem-based B’Tselem also made the claim.
Israel said reports indicating that these laws are discriminatory are unfair. The Algemeiner pointed to Elyakim Rubinstein, the former Israeli attorney general, who said, “Israelis have a different law [than Palestinians] that applies to their legal person, [but] this does not affect territorial jurisdiction, as Israel has never annexed the territory and Israel has never applied law outside the official boundaries.”
The Times of Israel reported that Bennett resisted pressure from his own coalition for a bill that would bar a lawmaker charged with a serious crime from becoming prime minister. Netanyahu faces allegations of corruption. Bennett refused because he thought it would break up the coalition.
TRENDPOST: Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, the leader of the Yamina party, found himself in a difficult position just days into his premiership due to a flag march that started outside the Damascus Gate and snaked through the Old City towards the Western Wall.
Netanyahu, in his final speech in front of the Knesset that was supposed to last 15 minutes but went on for over a half-hour, said Iran celebrated his loss because they “understand that starting today there will be a weak and unstable government that will align with the dictates of the international community.”
We pointed out at the time that Bennett “will have to live with Netanyahu in the shadows, which will continue to push him to take more Palestinian land to build settlements, i.e. real estate developments, which will in turn threaten the fragile coalition that includes the Islamic Raam party.”
Arabs in the country tempered their optimism about their inclusion in the new government.
Samer Barusi, a 67-year-old Palestinian who lives near the route of the flag march, told The Times that the Israeli police opened a plaza in East Jerusalem that had been sealed off during the holy month of Ramadan. He said the difference between the new government and old is “like the difference between Pepsi-Cola and Coca-Cola.”